Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

WHAT IS MEDICAL MARIJUANA?

In an extraordinary vote, the People of Michigan elected to allow individuals with a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition the ability to use legally use Marijuana as a valid medicine.  Pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a qualifying medical marijuana patient is allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, and if they do not have a primary caregiver, they are allowed to cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility.  There is also case law which suggests that the medical marijuana patient is allowed to possess enough marihuana that is reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition.

THE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

The Michigan Supreme Court recently clarified a patient's ability to use the Section 8 affirmative defense.   As the Kolanek Court summarized in the opinion’s appendix, “a defendant is entitled to the dismissal of criminal charges under § 8 if, at the evidentiary hearing, the defendant establishes all the elements of the § 8 defense, which are:

    (1) a physician has stated that, in the physician's professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient's medical  history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana;

    (2) the defendant did not possess an amount of marijuana that was more than reasonably necessary for this purpose; and

    (3) the defendant's use was to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms.”   People v Kolanek, 491 Mich 382; 817 NW2d 528 (2012)

    A Section 8 defense is not as easy as it sounds.  Many courts are reluctant to grant these types of motions due to numerous reasons, such as the lack of a debilitating condition and an invalid doctor patient relationship.  In order to overcome these issues, the court must be provided with ample evidence in order to meet the Kolanek requirements.  Having handled Section 8 hearings in felony cases, we have found these types of hearings to be extremely complicated, with the prosecutor's doing everything they can to stop us from using our client's Section 8 defense at trial.

    CAREGIVERS

     

    MCL 333.26424 of the Act allows for registered individuals to be “primary caregivers” for patients of Medical Marijuana.  What this means is that according to the Act, a primary caregiver may be financially compensated for growing and providing up to 12 plants per qualified patient they have registered through the State.  However, there are numerous rules and regulations which must be strictly followed in order to operate legally under the Medical Marijuana Act. 

    PUNISHMENTS FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE ACT

    Unfortunately, certain Sheriffs and Prosecutors believe that the Medical Marijuana Act was wrongfully passed by voters and thus have made it a priority to arrest people for marijuana possession and delivery regardless of the fact that those individuals have attempted to comply with the various provisions of the Act.  Because of this, it is imperative that any actions that you take under the Michigan Marijuana Act be after consultation with an attorney.  If you have been charged, you have numerous defenses which must be brought to the court’s attention.

    Our Attorneys have extensive experience with the Michigan Medical Marjuana act and its implications.  If you need our help, call us or email us today.  Our attorneys believe in what they do and they believe in your innocence.  We are industry recognized leaders in criminal representation and we fight to win.